With Steven Gerrard on his way out at the end of the season, one of the questions that will have to be answered is who becomes Liverpool’s next captain. The obvious answer might be current vice-captain Jordan Henderson, but given how poorly things went for Daniel Agger, Liverpool’s last vice-captain, nothing is ever certain in this kind of situation.
According to Gerrard, though, Henderson is at the very least pencilled in for the role, and most at the club do expect that the 24-year-old midfielder will become Liverpool’s next captain once Gerrard leaves for MLS in a few months. And Gerrard thinks that Henderson is perfectly suited to take over for him and that the young English international already has a strong leadership role at the club both on and off the pitch.
"I certainly believe Jordan has everything you need to be a great captain," Gerrard told the Liverpool Echo. "He’s a fantastic professional who tries to lead by example in every training session and in every game. He has really grown as a player and is improving all the time with experience. He can become a great captain for this club. He’s a fantastic player for me to hand the armband over to."
Part of why Gerrard thinks he’s suited for the role is how hard Henderson had to fight to establish himself at the club. Arriving for a hefty £16M fee from Sunderland as a 21-year-old, Henderson found himself shunted out to an unfamiliar position in place of a cult hero. He struggled to make an impact, and for some, his high transfer fee soon became a stick with which to beat him. Even good performances weren’t £16M performances.
"Initially it was very difficult for Jordan," added Gerrard. "He was a Sunderland boy and moving to Liverpool was his first time out of the area. It was a big move at a young age. Playing for Liverpool, with all the pressure and expectation, is tough. It’s a very demanding club, [but he] stayed and toughed it out. It’s in difficult situations like that you learn a lot about the type of player and type of character someone is."
In the end, he overcame those early struggles and he overcame doubts born of his high transfer fee and he even overcame a new manager who was willing to see him shipped to Fulham. Now, he’s set to be Liverpool’s next captain, and it’s hard to think of a player at the club better suited for the role.